Wealdstone 1 – 1 Carshalton Athletic
1 - 1
Despite the scoreline, Wealdstone made some real progress in this hard fought but entertaining match with a high flying Carshalton Athletic side on Saturday. On the back of three consecutive league defeats, Stones made an encouraging and positive start in lovely warm conditions at the Vale and on loan striker Gavin James, who looked lively throughout until a late injury slowed his pace, lobbed just wide after 10 minutes play. Ben Alexander who worked hard but lacked vital accuracy all afternoon then went close soon after.
Play became a little too fast and furious with Stones finding composure on the ball, in vital areas, at a premium but the home side continued to press the ball well and started to contain the Robins midfield very effectively and their play looked decidedly lower key than expected. As the first period progressed Robins found that they had been restricted to one or two break away opportunities with hot shot striker Richard Jolly well shackled by man of the match Alan Massey and fellow centre half Carl Martin.
Ben Alexander had a super chance to grab a goal before the break but shot wide after an initial effort from James found the burly striker with time and space. Carshalton had no more than two real efforts to find the net – one a good chance that Massey headed off the line.
Immediately after the restart Jolly had his best chance to add to his impressive goal tally this season but headed wide of the post to Luke Woods’ relief. Stones then went up a gear and had a determined looked about them as they won more and more of the midfield with Chris O’Leary back to something like the player Stones fans were applauding a year ago, biting and chasing about the park. Graeme Montgomery, looking like a man reborn, started to probe skilfully down the left putting the Robins under even more pressure. One excellent cross from him just eluded James at the far post. Surely something had to give we felt, and it did, finally, on 64 minutes and once again it was one of Stones back players that showed the way to goal. From a corner on the right, Gavin James seemed to miscue across the goalmouth straight to James Gray who volleyed in majestically to great celebration.
But within 4 minutes, Stones ridiculously found themselves caught out through a lack of concentration and, more likely, experience. The Robins broke upfield swiftly and ominously Stones left their right wing back Nic Plummain completely free and unmarked in acres of space. Plummain eventually crossed for Junior Kadi to shoot past Woods for an unlikely equaliser that was totally against the run of play. To their credit Stones battled on and looked as though they might grab a late and much merited winner. Stephen Hughes who had come on for Ben Alexander certainly added some bite to the attack but it was not to be.
A much improved performance from Wealdstone, but they must build on this and start finding the net regularly – hopefully starting on Tuesday evening against Canvey Island.
Wealdstone: Woods, Martin, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Alexander, James, Montgomery. Subs used: Hughes, Clarke. N/u: McCoy, Salapatas.